The island of Iceland was created by plumes of molten rock that spewed from the continual drifting apart of the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates. The Silfra rift or fissure in Lake Þingvallavatn is the only place in the world that you can swim between these tectonic plates.
Before we even knew we were going to Iceland, my sister had seen 'The Bucket List Family' do this, and she immediately put it on her bucket list. When we planned our eight-day trip around the country, this was the #1 thing she wanted to do. If it hadn't been for her, John and I probably would not have paid to do this, but we would have missed out on one of the coolest experiences of our trip.
In order to snorkel or scuba dive, you must pre-book an excursion. We booked ours through Dive.is, and we couldn't have been happier with the expedition. We were provided a thermal undergarment, a dry-suit, a neoprene head cover, neoprene gloves, snorkels, and flippers. Once we'd suited up, we were given a brief history lesson about the lake and some safety instructions before we hit the water.
Silfra is world renowned not only for being atop the continental divide but for its crystal clear water and excellent visibility. We could see clearly for more than 150 meters in the water. Glacier melt water from Langjökull (Iceland’s second largest glacier) is the source of such clear water, and the water is only 2° Celsius or about 36° Fahrenheit! From above, it just looks like a pretty lake with very clean water, but we could have never expected what was underneath the surface.
Once we were in the water, we followed our tour guide around the beautiful blue water through "Silfra Hall" into what is called “The Cathedral”. We then swam into the Silfra Lagoon where we were surrounded by big underwater boulders covered in neon green algae. It seemed as if we were floating above a grass field. Vastly unique rock formations and wonderful light shows from the sunlight were all we could see for hundreds of feet.
The tour only lasts about 30 or 40 minutes, but when we got to the lagoon, our instructor told us we could stay and explore for as long as we wanted. He also told us to try the some of the water, since it is clean and pure glacier water. We swam for as long as we could and circled the perimeter of the lagoon trying to take in all the beauty.
When we were finally finished, we met back up with our group to put on some warm clothes and enjoy complementary cookies and hot chocolate. We couldn't thank Giancarlo enough for the job he'd done showing us around this one-of-a-kind location. By the end of the trip, we all looked back and agreed that this was one of the coolest things we had done.